By Aaron Collier
As WWE’s Summerslam came to a close last Sunday, Yeti and I couldn’t believe what we just witnessed.
We’ve watched wrestling pretty much our entire lives, but what we saw was something we thought we would never see.
John Cena was completely decimated.
And yes, we totally understand it’s predetermined and we both knew that the monster, and Paul Heyman client, Brock Lesnar was going to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. There was no surprise that Cena dropped the belt to Lesnar, but the way it was scripted was what had us captivated.
Cena had no chance. None. To the point where it got a bit uncomfortable to watch knowing that children that idolized Cena were watching their hero get destroyed by the bad guy. At one point a kid that was positioned close to a microphone was trying, repeatedly and without success, to rally his hero with a “Let’s go Cena!” chant, only to see Cena be thrown across the ring again and again. The crowd was silent, not because the match was uninteresting, but due to the shock of the story being told in the ring. WWE was letting their Golden Boy get slaughtered by the monster Brock Lesnar.
It made for a more than compelling story and I had a ton of respect for Cena for allowing it to happen. Cena has shown time after time that he loves the wrestling business and he wants to be the top guy. Him agreeing to that type of brutal beat-down to his in-ring persona showed a lot of unselfishness on his part. If someone asked Hogan to drop the belt to someone in that manner, he would have walked, and that is coming from a Hulkamaniac.
I’m more than a bit of a Cena critic. I think his ring work is average, he isn’t as great on the mic as he would believe, and his character is extremely stale at this point. But his match with Lesnar on Sunday night showed Cena cares about the business we tune into every Monday night. And who knows, maybe this leads to Cena to becoming a more compelling character after years of running around in neon t-shirts and his favorite pair of jorts. I’ve come to the realization that Cena serves his purpose as the hero who always overcomes, just like Hogan did in the 1980s. But unlike Hogan, Cena allowed his hero persona to get beat by a monster. There was no cheating. No outside interference. No bogus finish. The monster just flat out beat him from pillar to post. He allowed the story to be advanced at his own expense, something that is almost unheard of in the wrestling business that is full of egos and politics.
A fan of John Cena the wrestler I’m not, and I’m not asking you to be, but after Summerslam I can appreciate Cena and the dedication he shows to his craft. He will never be CM Punk or Daniel Bryan in the ring. He will never steal the show like Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose seemingly do nightly now, but there is no doubt he enjoys being a professional wrestler. Sunday night he showed how much by letting WWE book Lesnar as the monster he is supposed to be and, to quote Triple H, doing what is best for business.